Retro VS. Retool: Hello Protro

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Nike formally released their lineup for this years’s All-Star festivities this week. We are delighted to see some familiar silhouettes return like the Zoom Kobe 1. The ZK1 was worn by Kobe during his 81pt outing against the Raptors in 2006 (my man averaged 35.4 PPG for the season FYI). Bryant himself dropped a teaser on Instagram (@kobebryant) where he touched on the subject of his retros.

“we’re always looking to build on things that we’ve done in the past to try to improve them”

Kobe’s perspective on his older models speak volumes about his personality. Same guy, new number. Same shoe, new tech. It also speaks to the evolution of his game. Same guy, new tricks. We don’t want to believe he’s gone. In a way, this release allows us to channel our inner Mamba and dream he’s still in the league. We see players like DeMar DeRozan jab step into a pull-up jumper. Isiah Thomas’s unwavering spirit aka Mamba Mentality. Devin Booker’s “score first ask questions later” mantra. New cats with Kobe’s mentality. The retool over retro makes sense because people don’t want to play in Kobe Boots, they want to play in stable and light shoes.

via Nike

The technology landscape was so much different in ’05 compared to today. Designer Ken Link emphasized free movement mobility, a trend that would continue to this day. Every contemporary release prioritizes stability & weight which they achieve with knit uppers. Our biggest takeaway from the Protro unveiling was the reduction in foam and streamlining of the shoe’s shape. Collectors with OG pairs will agree- the shoe was clunky. It’s unlikely current NBA players would play in a true retro of the Kobe 1 over the much sleeker Kobe AD Mid. In addition to a modernized Zoom unit, the Protro appears to utilize a more durable leather construction too.

ZK1 OG via Kobefiles
Protro via Nike

We’ve been blessed with two Kobe 1 retros since the shoe’s original release; the Prelude 1 and FTB (Fade to Black), both being true retros.

via Nike
via Nike

The only player to regularly wear either retro is DeMar DeRozan and that’s mainly because of his admiration for the Kobe line as a whole. It’s likely more Nike athletes start wearing this Kobe retool since it can both: bring back memories and perform to modern standards.

The Kobe 1 Protro will not be the only Kobe release on the horizon; Undefeated has announced that they will also be releasing two  ZK1 retros (3rd ‘Undefeated’ colorway might release later).

via DetroitSneakerBar

The Kobe 1 had some fire releases back in the day. We expect to see the ’81 game’, Orca, Stash and maybe, just maybe, the fabled ‘Red All-star’ sample to return in the near future. Initial reactions have been positive so don’t be surprised if all three drops sellout instantly. Do you like this plan for Kobe retros? Do you plan on copping a pair? Which athlete would you like to see with a Kobe 1 PE? Join the conversation and leave your comments below.